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GOVT 3353 : African Politics
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
This is an introductory course on the politics of Sub-Saharan Africa.  The goal is to provide students with historical background and theoretical tools to understand present-day politics on the continent.  The first part of the course will survey African political history, touching on: pre-colonial political structures, colonial experiences and legacies, nationalism and independence movements, post-independence optimism and state-building, the authoritarian turn, economic crises, and recent political and economic liberalizations.  The second part of the course will examine some contemporary political and economic issues.  These include: the effects of political and social identities in Africa (ethnicity, social ties, class, citizenship); the politics of poverty, war, and dysfunction; Africa in the international system; and current attempts to strengthen democracy and rule of law on the continent.
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GOVT 3303 : Politics of the Global North
Crosslisted as: ILRIC 4330 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Lowell Turner
From a perspective based on comparative political economy, this course examines pressing contemporary issues such as the politics of growing inequality.  We consider conflicts around markets, democracy, economic and social justice, including the efforts of actors such as governments and labor unions aimed at economic recovery, reducing inequality, and the reform of national and global economic policy and institutions.  We also look at distinctive types of political and economic organization, especially in Europe and the United States, and the capacities of these societies to meet current economic, political, and social challenges, both domestic and international.
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GOVT 3142 : Incarceration, Policy Response, and Self-Reflection
Crosslisted as: AMST 3142 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
This class is intended to provoke some hard thinking about the relationship of committed "outsiders" and advocates of change to the experience of crime, punishment, and incarceration and to the men we meet at Auburn/Cayuga who have been in most instances long-confined to prison. We will read, think, talk and write about the incarceration experience and about policies that shape this experience. We will also think self-reflexively about the character of the 'outsider's' educational, political, and personal engagement.   What are the motivations and what are the goals of such engagement? What are the anticipated outcomes - personal, social, educational, political, and/or moral and perhaps spiritual? In an effort to delve deeply into these questions, we will read a broad selection of work on incarceration, itself, as well as on the experience of what has come to be termed service learning or civic engagement.
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GOVT 3131 : The Nature, Functions, and Limits of Law
Crosslisted as: AMST 3131, LAW 4131 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Dawn Chutkow
A general-education course to acquaint students with how our legal system pursues the goals of society. The course introduces students to various perspectives on the nature of law, what functions it ought to serve in society, and what it can and cannot accomplish. The course proceeds in the belief that such matters constitute a valuable and necessary part of a general education, not only for pre-law students but especially for students in other fields. Assigned readings comprise legal materials and also secondary sources on the legal process and the role of law in society. The classes include discussion and debate about current legal and social issues, including equality, safety, the environment, punishment, and autonomy.
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GOVT 3112 : Congress and the Legislative Process
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
The course will be a lecture course on Congress, introducing them to the political science literature on the topic and the major research questions and approaches. We will examine the development of the institution, including formal theories for congressional organization as well as historically and politically oriented accounts of rule changes, committee power, and party influence. We will also look at the determinants of legislative productivity and gridlock, approaches to measuring and analyzing congressional behavior, the changing role of the electoral connection, and the causes and consequences of polarization.
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GOVT 3032 : Politics of Public Policy in the U.S.
Crosslisted as: AMST 3033 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Public policies are political outcomes determined by processes that are complex, convoluted and often controversial. The aim of this course is to equip students with the conceptual tools necessary to understand these processes. We will begin with a review of popular approaches to studying policy and then move on to explore the various stages of policy development: agenda-setting, policy design, policy implementation, policy feedback and policy change. We will consider the roles played by both institutions (congress, the bureaucracy and interests groups) and everyday people. Finally, we will closely study several specific policy arenas (a few likely candidates include: education policy, health policy, social welfare policy and housing policy). As we engage all of these ideas, students will be consistently challenged to grapple with the paradoxes of policy making in a democratic polity and to envision pathways for substantive political change.  
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GOVT 2604 : Obama and the Meaning of Race
Crosslisted as: AMST 2504, ASRC 2504, SOC 2520 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Travis Gosa
The election of Barack Obama to the presidency has raised new questions in the American debate on race, politics, and social science. Has America entered a post-racial society in which racism and inequality are things of the past? Or does Obama's post-Black, race-neutral approach to governing signal the end of Black politics, race-based activism and prescriptive policy? In this course, students will use the Obama presidency to think, talk, and write about how race works in America. We'll examine the symbolism of Obama's personal narrative and biracialism to analyze his race-neutral campaigns and governing within the context of history, politics, and policies. We'll look at the public image of Michelle Obama, especially how she is gendered as Black radical and fashionista.
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GOVT 2293 : Politics and Music
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Entertainment forms of political communication such as popular music are very often neglected in research of political communication, although popular music has a long and varied association with politics. It has provided the soundtrack to political protest and been the object of political censorship; politicians have courted pop stars and pop stars — like Bono of U2 — have acted as politicians. This class will therefore examine the various interaction between popular music and politics, and how popular music can contribute to our understanding of political thought and action, but also critically reflect upon the effects of popular music on people's political perceptions, attitudes and behavior.
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GOVT 2041 : Electoral (mal)practice
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Factors ranging from the difficulty of registration and costs of voter ID, the purging of voter rolls, a bungled election featuring mis-marked butterfly ballots, concerns about foreign influence or even hacking, continued gerrymandering at the state and federal levels, and several recent Condorcet failures, lead many to question the integrity of U.S. electoral institutions and administration. How can flawed elections be detected and improved? What are the causes of declining perceptions of democracy in the U.S. and elsewhere? How does system support affect government stability and performance in a democracy? We address these questions using both U.S. state-level and cross-national evidence. Students learn how to read and conduct evidence-based social scientific research, and how to act as an effective research consultant. We touch on the emerging field of election forensics and its application to U.S. data and to recent disputes in Kenya, Armenia, and Turkey, among other high-profile cases.
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GOVT 1901 : Discussions of Justice
Crosslisted as: PHIL 1901, SOC 1900, PHIL 1901, SOC 1900, PHIL 1901, SOC 1900, PHIL 1901, SOC 1900 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Bianka Takaoka
Benjamin Sales
This course will address questions of justice posed by current political controversies, for example, controversies over immigration, economic inequality, American nationalism, the government's role in healthcare and the environment, racial inequality, the political power of elites, populism, authoritarianism, globalization, and the proper use of America's global power. Brief readings in political philosophy and social science will be starting points for informal discussion and mutual learning among diverse perspectives.
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